August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Naomi's Rain: Remembering murdered Cheyenne Arapaho child

Naomi Whitecrow, 2, was murdered by her foster mother, who received only a fine
By Razn Cain
Censored News

OKLAHOMA CITY -- About 100 people gathered at the Oklahoma state capitol to pay tribute to and demand justice for Naomi Whitecrow, a 2-year-old Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal member killed in 2009 while in the care of a foster family. The foster mother, Amy Holder, of Edmond, Oklahoma was found guilty in October of child abuse and after about 10 hours of deliberation the jury recommended a $5,000 fine but no jail time. After word of the jury's recommendation was released, outrage sparked throughout the Indian community as family members, friends, and total strangers struggled to understand how the brutal murder of a child could result in a mere fine.

Formal sentencing was set for November 7th in Guthrie, Oklahoma and  many participants vowed to be present there as well to show support for Naomi. The event coordinator, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune editor Rosemary Stephens, opened the event by introducing Cheyenne and Arapaho Governor Janice Prairie Chief Boswell who welcomed the participants and encourage continued awareness of Naomi's case and the need for stricter laws regarding child abuse.

Photo by Kitty Carnes
The Campaign Justice for Naomi rally brought about supporters  protesting for more consistent and harsher penalties for those found guilty in the death of a child in foster care. Debby Whitecrow, Naomi's aunt, told supporters and media members the family wanted Holder held accountable and felt the punishment in no way fit the crime. "We want  justice that is what we are looking for in all of this. We are  here to remember her life and the life she is no longer going to be able  to live with us."

Glenda Deer, a Kickapoo tribal member from Shawnee, Oklahoma and outspoken supporter of the event, wrote the following on the Facebook event  page she created make the public aware of the sentencing date, "$5,000  for killing a Indian child in 2011?!... Our Indian kids are  priceless....there is NO amount of $ that can be set on ANY child...I  SAY PACK THE COURTROOM NOVEMBER (7th)...!!! LET GUTHERIE FEEL THE  PRESENCE OF INDIAN PEOPLE! There is no JUSTICE for indian  really is "JUST US"

After reviewing the medical examiner's report and photographs, forensic pathologist Dr. Dean A. Hawley (Indiana University School of  Medicine) determined that Naomi had died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, abdomen, and extremities.

The arrest warrant, signed by District Attorney Vincent Antonioli  reads, "Child  abuse -  a felony, on or between the 12th day of September, 2008  through the 20th day of January, 2009, by maliciously failing to provide minimum, proper, and medical attention to N.W., age 2, while she was in the care and custody of the defendant as a foster child, and performed  unnecessary physical procedures on the aforementioned N.W., causing the  following physical injuries from the resulting blunt force trauma, to  wit: pancreatic hemorrhage; fat necrosis; multiple contusions and  abrasion of her face and scalp; fresh left occipital subarachnod hemorrhage; left occipital and parietal cerebral cortical contusions;  contusions to the back, back of the head, front and back of legs, and  buttocks.

This crime is punishable by for imprisonment for up to life  and/or 1 year in the Logan County Jail and a fine of between $500.00 and $5000.00, or both."

Yolanda Bluehorse, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, spoke openly  and emotionally at yesterday's rally, recalling her own daughter's murder at the hands of a trusted caregiver. Bluehorse was there to support the family and remember Naomi.

"I'm here to support the family. I'm here for the little girl, for Naomi Whitecrow." After fighting the state of Texas to bring her own daughter's killer to justice, Bluehorse was visibly upset at the jury's recommendation for the $5,000.00 fine.

"A monetary amount. Really? Does that mean anyone found guilty just pays a fine? Are we putting a price on child abuse?"

As the clouds grew dark and the wind grew cold, the crowd remained  steadfast as several tribal members and activists stood and spoke of the need for justice and changes in current laws. Supporters from many  different ethnic backgrounds held signs adorned with Naomi's photo, with phrases such as, "Justice For Naomi," "Is This Going to Happen Again," and "Please Give Me a Voice."

Photo Glenda Sue Deer
Rally-goers were given pins with Naomi's  photo that read, "Justice For Naomi" and a white ribbon, to reflect and remind everyone of the innocence of our children.

The loss of that innocence was still apparent as Naomi's mother, Kala Whitecrow, stood to thank supporters for attending but could only say a  few words before she began to weep.

"I'm sorry, I'm just too emotional, I can't do this." Audible sobs were heard from the crowd as Whitecrow nearly collapsed into the arms of her mother, sister, and  Rosemary Stephens.

As the women stepped away from the podium and the final prayer was  about to be offered, a light gentle rain began to fall. Ben Carnes, a Choctaw tribal member who had spoken earlier in the event, quietly requested to address the crowd again,

Photo Glenda Sue Deer
With the raindrops apparent on  his face, Carnes spoke to Naomi's mother.  "I'm a member of the Choctaw Nation and they say Amy Holder is Choctaw. From my nation to yours, I  apologize for what she done." He lifted a hand to the sky. "In our  tradition, a soft gentle rain is a feminine rain. You can be sure little Naomi is up there right now watching us and smiling." He bowed  his head and paused for a moment, then lifted his eyes to the clouds.  "It's a feminine rain but it's also a healing rain if we let it be."

As the event ended, those who were there to pay tribute to and demand  justice for a little girl many had never met, stood in silence as the soft gentle rain not only touched their face, hair, and jackets, but  their very souls.

A soft, gentle, feminine rain.  A healing rain.  Naomi's rain.

Read the arrest warrant here (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader):

Edmond Woman Convicted of Child Abuse in Death of Foster Child:

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune:,%202011.pdf

Glenda Deer's event page for the sentencing:

Charges dropped against traditional Northern Paiute gatherer

Charges dropped against traditional Paiute gatherer Wesley Dick (Kwassuh)
Censored News
RENO, Nevada -- On Wednesday, November 2, 2011, the trespassing charges against Wesley Dick (Kwassuh) were dropped. Kwassuh is standing up for all of our Inherent Rights, Indigenous Rights, and Cultural Rights as Native People.
He would like to thank everyone who came to the Reno Court to support him and also to everyone who has continued to support him over the years.
Kwassuh's message came after a federal judge in Reno ruled he is innocent of charges that he drove off a designated roadway to gather tules, cattails, at the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge near Fallon. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife warden issued two citations against Kwassuh, a Fallon Paiute-Shoshone tribal member, for collecting plants on the refuge and for driving off a roadway.
Previous article at Censored News: Northern Paiute gatherer charged by Nevada game warden

(July 2011) The Kuiu Kwaan Tribal Court in Tacoma, Washington, issued a declaratory judgment in the case of Northern Paiute traditional gatherer Wesley Dick vs. the United States. The combined court of judges from across Indian country issued the judgment upholding the right of Wesley Dick, Kwassuh, to gather tules in the traditional way, after he was cited and fined $800 by US Fish and Wildlife in Nevada. 

School of Americas Watch: Occupy Fort Benning

School of Americas Watch: Occupy Fort Benning, Georgia
Nov. 18 -- 20, 2011
'NO' to US torture and militarization

Join thousands of solidarity activists, torture survivors, union workers, people of faith, students, immigrants, veterans and others from November 18-20, 2011 at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to take a stand for justice, to close the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) and to resist U.S. militarization.
This December will mark the 30th anniversary of the massacre of close to 800 indigenous villagers in the El Mozote region of El Salvador. Still, graduates of the SOA are leading the repression, killing hundreds and displacing thousands of Hondurans. Mexicans and immigrants passing through Mexico are the target of drug cartels and death squads like the "Zetas" - another product of SOA training. In the midst of the continuing war in Colombia, fueled by SOA violence, killings of trade union activists touched 51 in 2010." More:

Oakland: Police fire tear gas after peaceful Port shutdown

Follow Occupy movement on Al Jazeera Live Blog
Roundup from around the country:
Oakland police fired tear gas and concussion grenades at Occupy Oakland after peaceful takeover of Port of Oakland on Wednesday, as they began occupying an empty building

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